CDC Issues First Evidence-Based Guidelines on Diagnosing Child Concussions

doctor holding up fingersThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued the first broad, evidence-based guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of concussions in children. The guidelines are based on an analysis of 25 years of research on managing child concussions and focus on procedures that have the strongest evidence of benefit.

Other organizations, including the American Academy of Neurology and American Academy of Pediatrics, have released evidence-based guidelines but they only apply to sports concussions. The CDC guidelines apply to concussions from all causes, not just sports. This includes concussions caused by falls, sports and car accidents.

According to some estimates, approximately one million children in the U.S. sustain concussions each year. However, there is no national effort to track these injuries and many are not treated, so the real number of concussions may be higher.

Diagnosing and Treating Child Concussions

According to the new guidelines, when a child suffers a concussion, symptoms usually clear up within one to three months. However, recovery times can vary – teenagers, children with learning problems and mental illnesses, and those who have already had concussions may take longer to recover.

If the child experiences any of the following symptoms, he or she may need further medical attention:

  • Headaches that get worse
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Vomiting

The main treatment for concussions is rest from physical and mental activity for the first three days, this includes school and sports. After that, the child should gradually resume normal activities because inactivity beyond the first three days could actually cause symptoms to get worse.

The CDC guidelines say X-rays and CT scans are ineffective in detecting concussions. Blood tests have also been shown to be ineffective in detecting concussions. These tests should not be done outside of research.

Matthew Breiding, co-author of the guidelines and a brain injury specialist with the CDC, says parents should instruct their children to report any symptoms of a concussion right away.

Parents need to remind children that concussions are serious, and they should not ignore the injury because they are afraid to look weak or lose a position on a sports team. It is better to miss just one game than the whole season, says Breiding.

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If your child suffered a concussion or other brain injury that you believe was caused by negligence, contact the law firm of Greg Monforton & Partners for a free, no obligation legal consultation.

Our Windsor personal injury lawyers have helped many victims of negligence recover fair compensation after an accident caused by another party’s negligence.

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